By Ndidi Adekunle
It’s easy to just feed our babies some of the regulars on the family menu or take any baby food product or refreshment off the shelf to feed them but it doesn’t really work that way as you may just be harming your baby, instantly, or slowly. Learn what foods should be avoided till a certain age. Here’s a comprehensive list to arm you with the basics, and help avoid any complications that may result from feeding your baby what’s inappropriate.
1. Honey/Corn syrup/Maple Syrup: Though in rare cases, these can cause a paralytic condition in babies called Infant Botulism, which may result when an infant ingests these foods that contain the bacterium, Clostridium Botulinium. Better safe than sorry. Give only after the first year.
2. Peanut Butter / Jellies: Due majorly to their slippery nature, babies may not be able to co-ordinate their throat muscles well enough to swallow them, which can result in a choking hazard.
3. Nuts / Pop Corn: Babies are usually allergic to nuts, added to the fact that they also pose choking hazards due to their hardness. Pop corn is also way too hard when not well popped for a baby who has no teeth, and when well popped, tends to stick to the roof of a baby’s mouth and his throat walls, posing a choking hazard. Also, with hard corn, baby would just have to keep swallowing the corn grains whole. This may lead to constipation, if it doesn’t choke him along the way, that is. These foods also have the tendency to go the wrong way and lodge in unusual places within a baby’s body system. Avoid these complications, keep nuts and popcorn way out of your baby’s reach.
4. Egg Whites / Raw Eggs: These are marked by experts as a possible allergen. Also raw eggs in foods like mayonnaise, contain bacteria called salmonella, known to cause severe food poisoning.
5. Whole Milk: No milk of any type should replace breast milk or formula as they contain chemicals which may be harmful to a baby’s kidneys.
6. Wheat: For some reason, babies do not handle the fibre content of wheat properly (gives them the ‘runnies’), possibly because their digestive system isn’t well developed yet.
7. Shellfish: Avoid feeding prawns, oysters, lobsters, crayfish, and all the likes, as these are known to be deadly allergens to babies.
8. Grapes: Not exactly a high allergen, but may pose a choking hazard for babies, due to their small size.
9. Salt & Seasoning: Foods with added salt and preservatives should not be given to babies because of their immature kidneys. Some of such foods include bacon, sausages, soy sauce and most adult packed foods.
10. Sugar/Sweets/Candies: Apart from being choking hazards, these are bad for a baby’s gums and developing teeth because they lay the foundation for dental issues in children such as tooth decay. Also, artificial sugars (from processed foods rather than natural fruits), contain chemicals that may not go down well with a baby’s stomach.
11. Fizzy or Soft Drinks/Fruit Juices/ Minerals: Carbonated drinks and concentrated fruit juices are dangerous even for adults, what more babies. A baby is better off without them, for as long as you possibly can, way into the childhood years.
You start out enforcing good eating habits, and they end up growing up with healthy habits. Also, the gas in the carbonated drinks can choke a baby, bloat his stomach and give him colic pains.
12. Crisps, Crackers and Biscuits: If they’re not baby customised, branded biscuits, made specially for the baby’s gums and manageability, it’s in your baby’s interest that you avoid offering them to your baby. Offer your baby homemade finger foods that he can chew or manage appropriately.
Crisps and crackers for instance can be too spicy, dry, and harmful to a baby’s gums. They can cause abrasions in his gums, leading to bleeding in the gums. Also, they are processed with various preservatives and additives your baby’s digestive system isn’t ready for. Can be given after 2 years in moderation.